Facing a two-set deficit in the first match of the day, the UW-Platteville volleyball team rallied to win the next three sets to defeat Loras (22-25, 21-25, 25-15, 25-21, 15-12) and three more sets in a straight-set win (25-23, 25-17, 27-25) over Millikin to conclude the first day of action at the UW-Platteville Invitational.
The Pioneers (3-3) got back on track in the third set when they hit at a .419 clip with 17 kills. Emily Kaiser, Stephanie Kirchner and LeeAnn Mizgalski, who did not participate in the first two sets, each had four kills to lead the attack. Ali Sikic added 15 assists and Brooke Nichols and Andrea Larsen each added three digs for UW-Platteville.
In the fourth set, the two teams were tied four times until back-to-back kills by Kirchner and Mizgalski put the Pioneers in front by a 23-21 margin. A Duhawk ball handling error and punishing kill by Briana Kaiser closed out the set to tie the match at two sets apiece.
In the fifth set, the first time that UW-Platteville had played in a five-set match in 2011, the Pioneers found themselves behind early by a 10-4 margin. After veteran head coach Deb Schulman called her second and final timeout of the set, the Pioneers stepped up to the challenge by going on 7-1 run to tie the decisive set at 11. After a point by Loras, UW-Platteville scored the final four points of the set with a decisive service ace by Ali Sikic to close out the victory.
In the final match of the night, the Pioneers outhit Millikin by a .330 to .158 margin. Pioneers’ Briana Kaiser and LeeAnn Mizgalski each had 14 and 11 kills, respectively. Ali Sikic added 36 assists and two service aces; Brooke Nichols and Stephanie Kirchner contributed 14 and 11 digs, respectively to the win.
In the first set, the two teams battled back and forth as they were tied on seven occasions. After a Pioneer timeout and facing a 23-22 deficit, the Pioneers capitalized on an attack error by the Big Blue, Briana Kaiser and Ali Sikic teamed up on a block and Briana Kaiser ended the set with her fifth kill of the set.
The second set remained close until a 13-3 spurt midway through the set put the Pioneers ahead by a 22-12 margin. Also, in the second set, the Pioneers had 15 kills and just one hitting error en route to hitting at a .483 clip.
With a two-set lead, the Pioneers closed out the match with a 27-25 win in the third set. The Pioneers did not hold a lead until 25-24 when Briana Kaiser recorded her fifth kill of the set. The Big Blue came back to tie it at 25 but Kaiser added her sixth kill on an Ali Sikic assist and the UW-Platteville tandem of Stephanie Kirchner and Samantha Rampart partnered up on a block to close out the contest.
The Pioneers will close out the UW-Platteville Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 10 when they host Monmouth at 10 a.m. and Central at 2 p.m. in Williams Fieldhouse.
Box Score vs. Loras | Box Score vs. Millikin | Photo Gallery by Tyler Ensrude